My latest all-natural beauty craze is the use of aloe vera on hair. I am familiar with the use of aloe vera for acne, oral health, treating burns, and other health-related uses, which is why this time, I decide to explore whether it has benefits on hair.
And to my surprise, it does! Even WebMD knows that aloe vera will make your hair strong, control greasiness, soothe an itchy scalp, and protect from UV damage, hence promoting hair growth.
My particular interest in this subject drove me to focus on the use of aloe vera on low porosity hair. So, the question that I needed to answer was,
Is aloe vera good for low porosity hair?
Aloe vera strengthens, softens, moisturizes, conditions, thickens, and grows low porosity hair. Still, excessive use of aloe vera can have a drying effect on low porosity hair due to high protein content and a ph of 6 which is slightly acidic.
A while back, I did research explaining what low porosity hair is and how to find out your hair’s porosity; here is a link to the article. Simply put, low porosity hair tends to repel moisture and can appear dry and brittle. It is also protein sensitive and takes time to soak wet when washed, and takes longer to dry.
What Does Aloe Vera Gel Contain?
In my research, I found this scientific article in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, which indicated that aloe vera contains about 75 potentially active constituents, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, lignin, sugars, saponins, amino acids, and salicylic acids.
Research shows that Aloe vera gel has healing properties, protection from UV and gamma radiation, anti-inflammatory action, positive effects on the immune system, antiviral and antitumor activity, moisturizing and anti-aging effects, and anti-septic effects.
Copper and zinc are some of the minerals that aloe vera gel contains and have a role in hair growth.
All these active compounds have been shown to have benefits for both hair and scalp.
Can I use Aloe Vera on Low Porosity Hair?
Simply put, yes, you can use aloe vera on low porosity hair. But only do so with precaution. When I heard about aloe vera’s benefits on skin, I was excited and jumped on the bandwagon, and my skin never looked better. However, the results for hair are not all good, especially on low porosity hair.
I decided to research the general benefits of aloe vera on hair, but I also discovered that for low porosity hair, aloe vera could have negative implications.
Two main reasons why aloe vera can be bad for low porosity hair are a) its pH and b) its protein content.
Aloe Vera has Protein-Content that Can Damage Protein-sensitive Low Porosity Hair
Low porosity hair is protein sensitive since it is overloaded with keratin (which is the reason for its tightly packed and closed cuticle). When you use protein treatments on low porosity hair, it can cause protein overload, leading to damage.
Low porosity hair has compact cuticles, and the keratin-like compound in aloe vera is too big for low porosity hair to absorb. Therefore, it hangs onto the hair strands making the hair too bulky, brittle, and dry leading to easy breakage.
Aloe vera is Acidic, which Affects the Opening/Closing of cuticles
The pH of aloe vera is acidic, at around 4.5 and research shows that hair is sensitive to pH. A high pH (alkaline pH) makes hair follicles swell and cuticles open, leading to frizziness, brittleness, dryness, and easy breakage since your hair will lose moisture to the environment.
Aloe vera is slightly acidic, which means that its presence in your hair will cause the cuticles to close. When the cuticles are closed, moisture is sealed in, which makes your moisturizer all the more effective.
Using aloe vera will slightly close your cuticles, leaving your hair to become softer and flexible since the strands do not lose moisture. As a result, your hair will be shinier and softer.
So, if closed cuticles are good for your hair (they make it strong and defensive against loss of moisture), why could this be a downside? When your cuticles are sealed, it becomes difficult to moisturize the hair. As mentioned earlier, low porosity hair already has closed cuticles, which causes it to repel moisture. Therefore, closing these cuticles further with aloe vera can make low porosity hair drier and moisture repellant.
Excessive use of aloe vera on low porosity hair can have a drying effect. In and of itself, aloe vera gel is not a moisturizer but can be used to trap moisture in your hair. When you need to moisturize your low porosity hair, avoid aloe vera gel or use it after you have already moisturized it so that you can seal in the moisture.
Benefits of Aloe Vera On Low Porosity Hair
After finding out the components of aloe vera gel and its caveats on low porosity hair, I needed to discover its benefits.
There is a lot of information on the use of aloe vera on hair; some of it is real, some of it is a myth. For instance, it is said that Cleopatra’s hair was soft, shiny, and silky due to her ritualistic use of aloe vera for beauty purposes. Whether this was true or not, aloe vera does have some benefits on your hair.
Preventing Hair Loss/Alopecia/Dandruff
One of the benefits of aloe vera on hair that I discovered was its ability to fight alopecia, eradicated dandruff, and prevent hair loss.
Research shows that aloe vera contains enzymes that help prevent hair loss since it protects the scalp from various diseases. It also works by preventing and fighting dandruff through its anti-fungal properties.
To apply, mix aloe vera juice/gel with germ oil or coconut milk before massaging it on your hair and washing it with shampoo.
Research indicates that continuous use will help hair grow back. It is possible that aloe vera can cure alopecia
Aloe vera gel promotes circulation, which nourishes the scalp and creates an environment favorable to hair growth.
Therefore, massaging this gel on your hair now and then can help you achieve a healthy mane of hair. Aloe vera can also act as a thickening agent for your hair.
Also, using aloe vera gel will keep your scalp healthy and free from inflammation, which is good for hair growth.
Inflammation adversely affects hair follicles, especially their growth, so if you want to avoid this, aloe vera gel is your friend.
A double-blind research study indicated that aloe vera extract has positive implications for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is similar to dandruff but with severe symptoms. Aloe vera extract helps to reduce its symptoms, which include scaliness, pruritus, and erythema.
Treating Dry Scalp
Another benefit of using aloe vera gel on your hair is that it is going to act as a moisturizer for your scalp. It reduces scalp dryness and general skin dryness.
Therefore, if you are struggling with scalp dryness, try aloe vera gel. Pure Aloe vera extract is 75% water, which means it can condition, replenish and repair your low porosity dry hair.
Protecting your hair from UV damage
I was surprised to learn that scientists have evidence to prove that UV from the sun changes and denatures the protein structures in the hair.
Therefore, if you have prolonged exposure to sunlight, don’t be surprised if your hair starts to become rough in texture, brittle, reduced elasticity, easy breakage, and reduced shine. So there, you now have a new sunscreen for your hair; aloe vera gel.
Prevents Scrap Itchiness
Aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory benefits as well as anti-dandruff properties. If you have a problem with an itchy scalp, try aloe vera for your hair.
Repairing and Conditioning Damaged Hair
Aloe vera gel is rich in nutrients, and its primary proteins resemble keratin. Remember that we use keratin treatment (protein treatment) to strengthen damaged hair as it bonds with cuticles to fortify them.
When you apply aloe vera gel on your hair, it can help to restore lost moisture and refortify the cuticles. To turn it into a leave-in conditioner, all you have to do is mix aloe vera juice with water.
Spray this mixture on your hair strands and massage it in the hair. Aloe vera works as a deep conditioner for your hair.
How do you use aloe vera on low porosity hair?
If you are using aloe vera extract, the natural gel-like extract, use it as a conditioner. Apply it abundantly on your hair and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes before washing it off and conditioning it as usual.
If you are using aloe vera juice, mix it with oil, water, and leave-in conditioner (or you can just mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil only). Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on your hair as a moisturizer.
Sometimes, it is okay to leave aloe vera on your hair overnight. If you choose this approach, do it once or twice a week.
You can also turn aloe vera into a hair mask by mixing it with egg yolk.
Also, you can apply aloe vera to wet or dry hair. When using it as a conditioner, then it is best to apply it on wet hair. If you mix it with egg yolk to use as a mask, then it works best on dry hair.
There are various approaches and this is not an exhaustive list.
Allergic Reaction Disclaimer
During my research, I discovered that there are potential side effects for aloe vera. You could be allergic to aloe vera gel/juice. It can cause redness, stinging, and burning sensation. This reaction is due to anthraquinones, including aloin and barbaloin. Therefore, consider doing an allergy test before widespread application.
To conclude, yes, you can use aloe vera on low porosity hair and enjoy the benefits named above. However, you are going to have to be careful and not overuse it to avoid drying out your low porosity hair.